Preparing for the Pet Euthanasia Visit

We at Compassionate Veterinary Hospice know how difficult it can be to say goodbye to a beloved companion. A euthanasia in your home can be a different process than you may have previously experienced at a veterinary hospital. We hope this  summary  will  leave you feeling prepared. 

Euthanizing your companion at home allows him or her to stay where he or she is most comfortable, surrounded by  family members in a familiar setting.  Wherever possible, we like to have them be where they are most comfortable. If that is on their favorite bed or spot on the floor, we will do what we can to let them remain where they want to be.   You don’t need to prepare anything special for us, just enough room for us to move around and comfortably be with you and your pet. 

Once our doctor has arrived  she or he will introduce themselves to your furry loved one,  answer any remaining questions, and then draw up the first injection.  This injection is a mix of a pain medication and a  heavy sedative.  This will be given with a very small needle under the skin, just like vaccines have been given at previous veterinary visits.  This should be a familiar sensation for your pet, and we are doing all we can to minimize the possible tingle the injection may have.  Your pet may notice the injection for a brief moment, however, and may express temporary discontent. 

Over the next 2-10 minutes your furry loved one will  gradually and peacefully fall into a heavy sleep.  We will be monitoring their response, and administer more sedation if needed to make sure they are in a state of blissful unawareness.   Their breathing pattern may change  during this process, but this is not painful.  We will be checking for a desirable level of unconsciousness before we move on to the next step.

Once your pet is comfortably unaware,  an overdose of anesthesia is given to help them  complete the process of a peaceful death.  This injection is typically given in a vein in the legs, but can be given in other locations. We may ask to position him or her so that we can look at and have access to a vein.  We may use electric clippers to shave a very small patch of fur, and use a tourniquet and small amount of alcohol to evaluate the vein.  You are welcome to talk to your pet and give them love during this time.   Your pet will typically pass soon after the injection has been completed. 

 Once your furry loved one has died, we may see some changes that  we would like you to be aware of, in order for there to be no surprises.  Your pet may release some urine or stool, so towels, blankets or an absorbent pad can be placed underneath them to protect furniture, carpeting or flooring.  Fine muscle twitches may be noted, very rarely affecting the diaphragm and causing what can look like a sudden breath.  This is rare, but it can be startling for you: Keep in mind that your pet does not feel any of this.  Finally, the relaxed natural state for their eyes is to remain partially open.